The founder of Canning Across America offers some tips on gathering the right supplies, people, recipes and more for a great community canning session.
Recently, Shareable chatted with Kim O’Donnel, founder of Canning Across America, a collective of cooks, gardeners and food lovers interested in “putting food up.” We discussed the community aspects of canning and how farmers, sellers, neighbors and friends all contribute to, and benefit from, the canning process.
O’Donnel provided some helpful hints for hosting a canning session and directed us to this nifty water bath canning cheat sheet (she recommends beginners start with water bath canning as pressure canners requires a lot more knowledge).
The following guide is a mashup of O’Donnel’s practical wisdom, her friendly guidance, and tips taken from the cheat sheet. For more information check out Canning Across America’s Frequently Asked Questions page.
Supplies Before you even think about turning on the stove, gather everything that you need. This includes the essentials: food to be canned, jars, lids, rings, funnel, a big pot or kettle, jar lifter and lid lifter, as well as things that fall into the nice-to-have-but-not-necessary category including a rack and an air bubbler. Things to think about: what size jars do you want to use? Jams do well in small jars but for tomato sauce you’ll want larger ones. How many do you need? You can reuse jars and rings but lids need to be new each time.
Gather the Right People Some prefer to can alone, but canning is, in many ways, a community effort. It’s also a hot, potentially messy affair that is oftentimes done in a small kitchen. This means that communication is key, so gather around you people who you’re comfortable working in close quarters with, who have a sense of humor and who don’t mind some elbow bumping.
Each One Teach One It really helps to have someone there who is an experienced canner. O’Donnel’s first time canning was with two friends who had never canned either. As she tells the story, they had a great time drinking wine and listening to Donna Summer records, but they didn’t know what the hell they were doing. Canning is a craft that’s been handed down from person to person for hundreds of years. Embrace that and join in the chain. Once you learn, you can turn around and teach others.
Follow the Recipe There is no deviation when it come to canning. It’s a process that involves getting the correct pH levels, not a form of cooking. The reason there are set amounts of sugar and acid is to create a preserved product. Use a tested, trusted recipe and follow it to a T. If you don’t have one, O’Donnel recommends the Ball Blue Book. Once you have a recipe, make sure that everyone has read it and understands what the process will be.
Divvy Up the Responsibilities Who’s going to organize the jars? Who’s going to wash the fruit? Who’s going to take the first shift stirring? Figure out who’s going to do what in order to minimize confusion and have the session go as smoothly as possible. And, be open to switching around if someone gets too hot or tired. After all, one can only stir 25 pounds of tomatoes for so long.
Start Small If this is your first time canning, start with reasonable expectations. For instance, jam and pickled carrots are lot easier than tomato sauce, as sauce involves numerous steps and ends up taking several hours just to prep. Also, don’t line up too much for one day. It’s far better to have a good time making a small batch or two than it is to line up too many tasks and spend the whole day freaking out about the time.
Don’t Multitask When you’re canning, just can. During a canning session, there’s a lot going on, often at the same time. Keep your mind on canning for the best results and most enjoyable time. As O’Donnel says, “Turn off the smartphone, turn off the TV and stay focused on the task at hand.”
Take Note Learn from your canning experience; both the process of canning and the finished product. How did it go? What will help the next session go smoother? Over time, you’ll figure out which foods you made too much of and which ones you want more of. How quickly does your family go through jam? How many jars of tomato sauce do you need per month? Once you get it dialed in, you can make just the right amount to last through the next canning session.
Enjoy! Canning can be a fun, community-minded affair that serves to bring people together and strengthen ties between farmers and canners as well as canners and their food. Enjoy the experience and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
The following is a call for a radical bloc at the Portland PRIDE parade on June 16th.
Fuck Rainbow Capitalism.
Portland PRIDE is full of cops, banks, and corporations. We have said, again and again, “No cops at pride!,” but the parade has always been to beholden to the State and its corporate sponsors to listen. At Detroit Pride, cops defended Nazis threatening genocide against queer participants and violently attacked queer bodies to facilitate the Nazi demonstration. In Sacramento an activist was the victim of transphobic violence from a fascist armed with a knife; the cops consistently detained the queer victim and not the fascist aggressor.
We remember that Stonewall was a riot against police brutality, police brutality that still continues today. We choose to act now against police oppression, against Nazi violence, against rainbow capitalist and the co-option of the queer liberatory movement by capital. We choose to stand in defense of our queer comrades against the violence of fascism, capital, and the state.
We are calling for radical queers, anti-capitalists, and anti-authoritarians to converge on the SW corner of NW Everett & Park at 11 AM sharp, we will be leaving to enter the parade at 11:30 AM. Bring noise makers, PA’s, banners, propaganda, and your most faggy attire.
Cover your face and any identifiable body art. We intend to march in the parade, it is likely the parade police, PPB, and the good gay citizens of Portland will attempt to kick us out for not paying the offensive fee, but fuck them. We’ll keep each other safe and make our presence known.
See you there queers. ❤
Join the call to divest from the state and the banking system which protect and fund corporate “PRIDE” and the prison and policing systems which are used to oppress the LGBTQ+ community by switching to cryptocurrency today. Take the pledge to exchange at least $1 per day into your choice of altcoin and #DivestWallStreet
This text in English and Spanish, comes from the Indigenous anarchist political prisoner Miguel Peralta to mark June 11th: International Day of Solidarity With Long Term Anarchist Prisoners. Miguel is currently appealing his 50-year sentence in the Third Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of the State of Oaxaca, Mexico.
The cell where I live is kind of dark. Fragments of light enter from two directions. On one side, there are the shadows of a fence with four vertical bars and four horizontal bars, all of which are not visible. Next to that, another fence can be seen but in the form of blinds, elongated, not very wide. The other side where the light enters is almost the same, but disfigured. The scarce shadows manage to reflect small figures in the shapes of small squares with different shades. Outside, in the corridor, by the window that has 24 bars covering it, is a wall, recently painted with a blue sign that says: RESTRICTED AREA.
And if you lift up your head and look, behind the wall, there are nine young almond trees, aligned, green almost all year. On more than three occasions they have been pruned, which has limited their growth. If one looks further, behind the almond trees there is an old leafy mango tree. In three years it has only come to bloom once, since the month of January. It has not produced mangos and I do not have the least idea what it needs. Even further, is a very tall coconut palm tree, approximately 25 meters in height. Its fruits are small, you almost can’t see them. Further in the distance you can look at the stars, the clouds, freedom and a bit of the universe.
Very little separates us, don’t you think? Yet we are far away. You might ask how I can see so much? The place where I am located is on the upper floor of the prison (hahahaha).
This time of the year, the heat is unbearable. You sweat at every moment. I try to get air by waving an object, a book or a shirt. Like that the night comes to an end, while I write, trying to remember to dedicate some written lines to the compas that have had long term prison sentences imposed upon them. I remember when I wrote something last year for June 11th, I still had not been sentenced to 50 years in prison. I interpreted time differently. It was like waiting for a bus to travel. I conceived the final court hearing as the correct place, space and time to take back my freedom. But in that moment, it did not happen. I had a hard time imagining, understanding and feeling how the monotonous days, years, and decades in confinement are endured. Then I imagined the compas Da Silva and Sebastián and I asked myself, what have they done to not break down, to be so strong, to endure so much humiliation from the system and its jailers, to endure the ups and downs of the day to day, the loss of loved ones and of compas to which they could not say goodbye. It seems that they only clung on to their thoughts, their actions were derived from this, they believed in what was really right. While in confinement, they preserved their human dignity and rejected humiliation.
Mumia for example, has always spread so much energy to so many compas, both inside and outside the prison. He has not allowed anxiety, sadness, injustice and the machine itself to erase the smiles of rage that come from his resistance.
Another idea that I want to share with you all is the implications of taking a political position inside prison. On the outside for example, it is easy to manifest an idea or thought and publish something on social networks. The question, I think, is how do we transform the raw material into action. Trying to be anarchists while being locked up is very difficult. We know beforehand that we will come up against the rules, the authoritarianism, the imposition of certain behaviors. Because we navigate against the current, we are stigmatized in their attempts to align and individualize us at all times.
On the other hand, there are clear warning shots from the judicial system. The legal processes will be made as slow as possible, filled with irregularities and delays. The penitentiary system has its delicate arrogance to fuck up the prisoner’s daily existence in prison. Sometimes, in the experience of isolation, remaining silent can be a strategy, at least for a certain time. We are limited in our capacities to develop ourselves in a personal and human manner. At all times, little by little, we are trying to free ourselves, the body and the spirit, passing through various emotional stages.
We struggle for water, here on the inside of the prison. Water belongs to everyone, but here it is not sufficient, neither to drink nor for other uses. We struggle against the food that they impose on us, and we struggle in our work, to not depend on the boss. We search to collectivize some of the established processes in the prison. We are against the conditional freedom that people have experienced throughout history. As such, we will continue completing and reconstructing ourselves to be free.
Greetings to all the prisoners, to all the imprisoned compas that are in confinement.
Prisoners to the street!
San Juan Bautista, Cuicatlán
La celda donde habito es un poco oscura. Entran fragmentos de luz en dos direcciones. A un costado, saben, se refleja para variar un poco, sombras de una pequeña reja con cuatro barrotes verticales y los horizontales no se dejan ver, a su lado se visibiliza otra reja pero como en forma de persiana, alargada, poco ancha, del otro costado casi es lo mismo pero desvirtuado, las escasas sombras, logran reflejar pequeñas figuras en formas de cuadritos con matices diferentes y afuera, o sea sobre el pasillo, por la ventana que es de veinticuatro barrotes acomodados de costado se aprecia el muro recién pintado, con un letrero azul que dice: ÁREA RESTRINGIDA.
Y si uno va subiendo la cabeza y la mirada, detrás del muro encontraremos nueve almendros jóvenes, alineados, que casi todo el año se mantienen verdes y que por más de tres ocasiones los han podado y despuntado, eso ha limitado su crecimiento. Si uno sigue insistiendo, atrás de los almendros se observa un árbol de mango, de edad avanzada, muy frondoso, hace tres años que sólo se la pasa floreciendo, a partir del mes de enero y que no ha producido, no tengo la más mínima idea de lo que le hará falta. Más atrás se encuentra una palmera de coco, muy alta, de aproximadamente veinticinco metros de altura, sus frutos son pequeños, casi no se distinguen. Después de todo esto se logran mirar las estrellas, las nubes, la libertad y una pizca del universo.
Muy poco nos separa ¿no creen?, pero que alejados estamos. Bueno ustedes se preguntarán ¿cómo es que logra ver tanto? y les respondo, pues la estancia donde me tienen está ubicada en la planta alta (risas).
En estos tiempos hace un calor insoportable, sudas a cada instante, trato de echarme un poco de aire con algún objeto, un libro, una playera. Y así se va acabando la noche, mientras escribo trato de recordar que en algún momento dedique unas líneas a compas que les habían impuesto largas condenas y me viene a la memoria que cuando lo hice aún no me sentenciaban a cincuenta años de prisión, asimilaba el tiempo de forma diferente. Era como estar esperando un transporte para viajar, así concebía a la audiencia final como el lugar, el espacio y el tiempo correcto para arrebatarles mi libertad, pero en ese momento no sucedió y aun así me costó mucho trabajo realizar ese ejercicio, me refiero a mi imaginar, comprender y sentir como transcurren a los compas los días, los años, las décadas en el encierro y soportar en todo momento la monotonía. luego imaginaba a los compas Da Silva y a Sebastián y me pregunto, como le habrán echo para no decaer, para tener tanta fuerza, para soportar tanas humillaciones de parte del sistema y sus carceleros, aguantar los altibajos del día a día, la perdida de seres queridos y de compas de los que no pudieron despedirse, vuelvo y me parece que sólo se aferraron a sus pensamientos, sus acciones de esto se derivaron, creyeron en lo que realmente era justo estando en el encierro, conservaron la dignidad humana y rechazaron la humillación.
Mumia por ejemplo, desde siempre, ha transmitido tanta energía a un chingo de compas, afuera y adentro y que no ha permitido que la ansiedad, la tristeza, la injusticia y la maquina logren borrar las sonrisas de rabia que brotan de su resistencia.
Otra situación que deseo compartirles, es sobre las implicaciones que conlleva asumir una postura desde el aislamiento, afuera por ejemplo, es fácil manifestar alguna idea o pensamiento y publicar algo en las famosas redes sociales, la cuestión pienso, es como le hacemos para transformar la materia prima en una acción, tratar de ser libertario desde el encierro es bien complicado, sabemos de antemano que nos toparemos con reglas, con formas autoritarias, con imposición de conductas, con la estigmatización y pues navegamos contracorriente, porque pretende alinearnos e individualizarnos todo el tiempo.
Por otro lado, nos queda claro, que es un tiro cantado con el sistema jurídico y que los procesos trataran de llevarlos lo más lento posible, las omisiones jamás faltaran, y bueno el sistema penitenciario cuenta con su delicada arrogancia condimentada para joder todos los días la existencia y la estancia del preso, a veces, en el camino del aislamiento, callar es una estrategia por determinado tiempo, porque estamos limitados a desarrollarnos personal y humanamente, poco a poco vamos intentando liberarnos en todo momento, del cuerpo y del espíritu pasando por varias etapas emocionales.
Luchamos por el agua, aquí adentro, que es de todos, pero luego no es suficiente, tanto para beber como para otros usos, por la alimentación que nos imponen y por el trabajo, para no depender del patrón, buscamos colectivizar algunas formas que están establecidas, estamos en contra de la libertad condicional que han vivido los pueblos a través de la historia y así seguimos complementando y reconstruyéndonos para ser libres.
Saludo a todos los presos, a los compas presos que están en el aislamiento.
Presos a la calle!
San Juan Bautista, Cuicatlán.
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My love affair with fruit goes back a long way. Our property had many fruit trees and I climbed almost all of them in spite of insect bites and other hazards. As kids, we were the best neighbourhood foragers although our fearlessness often landed us in trouble.
Neighbours were receptive to us kids, although I have now knocked on many doors and offered to pay for fruit and have been told to help myself. People tell me they would rather see the food eaten than rot on the ground as they don’t know what to do with the surplus.
Our modus operandi was, and still is, to scour the neighbourhood for anything edible and keep a record of what’s around. (I no longer climb fences so I can’t always see what is grown in the back, although I do ask). We had been warned about what fruit was edible and, if in doubt, to leave well alone. We sussed out the friendly neighbours and gave the unfriendly ones a wide berth.
Nowadays I drive and can go further but my MO remains the same. In the 10 km radius of where I live I can source 80% of my favourite fruit, mostly for free, for a token sum, or in exchange for my own homegrown produce. There are also fruit trees in community gardens and public areas. Today we feasted on sweet public mulberries, picked off the trees and straight into our mouths. Life doesn’t get better than this.
Eveyone can get in on the foraging action
What to Bring On serious foraging days, foragers should be ready with bags, trolleys with wheels if required, an extendable fruit picker or ladder and good shoes if fruit is high up. Of course since I find my fruit on RipeNearMe, I have contacted the growers and arranged for either swapping or purchase. In the heat of summer it can be thirsty work so I always have water in my car.
The Challenge Trying not to eat the fruit as I pick is my greatest challenge as I think of the goodness coursing through my body from such freshness. It is not unusual for me to feel sick from consuming too much, but the taste is too good to bear and so the fruit finds its own path to my stomach. This is called lack of self-control and is pervasive amongst foragers, so don’t feel bad about being a glutton. It is not only acceptable but encouraged amongst foragers and we all have tales to tell of when we went too far and paid the price – not funny at the time, but hilarious later.
Delicious foods can be had when you take the time to find them
Where to Find Food So, where does the serious urban fruit forager go in the modern world? Fortunately today we have a plethora of options available to make sharing fresh produce easy, safe and fun.
Wild Foods: Foraging, of course, starts with wild foods. There’s something inherently exotic about “wild” food. It’s an adventure, with a dash of risk if you don’t know what you’re doing. With the right knowledge you can forge a track into a local forest, park or roadside verge and emerge with a bounty that makes your tummy sing – or grumble, at least. The trick is to do some research to make sure the land is safe (i.e. not been sprayed with herbicides or used for industrial purposes).
Learn From the Experts: Steve Brill‘s foraging tours of Manhattan’s Central Park and Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, Swallow Tail Tours by Robin Kort, or ForageSF in San Francisco are ways one can get an introduction to foraging. In the UK, Abundance London as well as Food Safaries by Nick Saltmarsh and foraging courses by Robin Harford offer valuable insights. In Australia, naturalist Diego Bonetto and Doris Pozzi of Edible Weeds fame have been on the foraging scene for years talking sustainability to anyone who will listen.
Grow Your Own: Growing your own is the next evolutionary step in food gathering, just like our ancestors who moved from the forests to cultivated plains. If you’ve got a bit of sunlight, water and a place for soil, you’ve got room to grow food! There’s enough how-to-grow information on the web to sink a ship, so we won’t cover that here. What we will say is “get started!” It’s easier than you think.
Share Land: If you don’t have room to grow your own food, then you still have a few options. First, you could try to grow food on someone else’s land. Sites like Sharing Backyards and Landshare allow you to find landowners with spare space willing to let happy gardeners grow a pear or two, and vice versa.
Beyond that, community gardens are becoming widespread in cities across the world. At the time of writing we’re not aware of any resources mapping community gardens across the world, so check with your local council or jurisdiction. After all, what a great way to forage: rubbing shoulders with like-minded, albeit sweaty, friends.
Bring a fruit picker…or someone with a long reach
Share the Bounty Now that you’re growing food of your own to forage, what do you do with the excess? A common, global solution is local food swaps. Sites like the Food Swap Network help you find local groups and events to swap and share. The next best thing to picking fruit off the tree is picking fruit from the person who just picked the fruit off the tree.
Sharing backyard food makes an immense amount of sense. Growing your own food is always the most satisfying experience, but there is a limit to how much – and how much variety – you can grow. Leveraging your community and the space in your town we can all share in an immense bounty. In our town of Adelaide, South Australia, it’s been estimated that the value of backyard fruit trees is well in excess of $1.5 million dollars per year. Imagine if we could double the amount of trees, all while ensuring none of it goes to waste.
The Ultimate Experience If you want the ultimate foraging experience, you really need a way to get into peoples’ yards (With permission of course – we’re grown up now!). RipeNearMe provides that experience. You can begin your foraging online, and easily see what others are growing in your neighbourhood. Then it’s just a matter of getting in touch with the grower to pick, buy or swap.
RipeNearMe also has the benefit of mapping wild or publicly-grown foods, so it can help you find and share what’s freely available. Of course, common sense should prevail, and it’s wise to ensure that you never take too much – either to the detriment of others missing out or the plant itself.
In Australia, plants grown in national parks and gardens, nature reserves, wetlands and state forests are protected and you can incur fines if you harvest without permission. In the wild there are creatures that may depend on this food for survival and we must always consider them first or risk disrupting the natural order of that environment.
When foraging, you sometimes have to get off the beaten path
Addicted to Foraging For those of you embarking on fruit foraging let me warn you of its addiction, because once you taste fruit fresh off the tree you will be forever resentful of the tasteless imitators on supermarket shelves.
Like everything else, eating real fruit becomes a habit and foraging becomes exciting because sometimes you come upon heirloom varieties that look strange but taste heavenly. Sometimes the grower may even give you seeds or a graft in exchange for sharing produce.
There are nice surprises in foraging, not least of which is meeting neighbours and community and sharing information and news about life at large. What starts out as a search for fresh fruit becomes an adventure and when we forage for fruit what we find is a whole lot more.
Why not venture out now? Share your funny stories with us. You know you want to…
News reports announced that Blake Benthall, the admin of Silk Road 2.0 (a bigger replica of the original Silk Road), was offered a plea deal. He only faces tax fines while Ross was sentenced to two life sentences + 40 years without parole. Last April, Thomas White, the creator of Silk Road 2.0, was sentenced in the U.K. to 5 years and 4 months.
Today, Ross shared the following: “Can someone explain to me why I have to grow old and die in this cage while the man who ran Silk Road 2.0 walks free?”
Join the call to divest from the state and the banking system which protect and fund the prison system by switching to cryptocurrency today. Take the pledge to exchange at least $1 per day into your choice of altcoin and #DivestWallStreet